Obesity Can Super-Size Life Insurance Cost

Written by Karen Lawson on February 3, 2010 & Posted in Life Insurance

Obesity has been linked to serious conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. These conditions can significantly raise the cost of life insurance, or even may render you ineligible for some policies.

Obesity and Life Insurance
The pricing of life insurance is based on probabilities, specifically the probability of your life expectancy based on your age and health status. In particular, obesity is a problematic issue when it comes to life insurance. Because of its impact on your overall health, obesity may raise a red flag to insurers when it comes time to qualify. Obesity can affect each life insurance policy, from term to employer-based, simplified to whole life. Here is a breakdown of policies and how obesity may affect the qualification process.

  • Term life insurance: Coverage is typically written for a specific period of time, and may be renewable if you meet eligibility requirements. However, if you are overweight or obese, your eligibility for renewing your term life policy may be questioned.
  • Employer Based Life Insurance: Employers may offer life insurance in addition to health coverage and this can be the cheapest way to go if you are obese and/or have other health problems. Yet, some insurance underwriters may take into account pre-existing conditions that could limit your coverage.
  • Underwritten policies: The benefit of underwritten life insurance policies is that you traditionally don't pay for conditions you don't have, but the bad news is that certain conditions may render you ineligible for coverage, or eligible at a very high cost. Usually, you will undergo a physical exam and basic lab tests to qualify for underwritten life insurance. This exam is typically conducted by a doctor specified by the insurance company. If your weight becomes an issue with the life insurance company, you may see your rates rise.
  • Simplified life insurance policies: You may not be required to take a physical exam, but you typically have to answer questions about your health and lifestyle. If you have chronic health conditions, such as obesity, don't be tempted to omit information or lie about your health. Insurance companies rely on data bureaus, similar to credit bureaus, but instead they gather medical information.
  • Guaranteed life policies: These policies guarantee coverage regardless of pre-existing, current, or future health conditions. Coverage amounts may be limited according to your age and health concerns, but for those who cannot afford or qualify for other types of life insurance, a guaranteed life policy can supply some peace of mind.

Getting a Discount: Get a Healthy Life
Obesity, high blood pressure, and other health conditions can be mitigating factors in the approval process. The number one way to ensure that you qualify for affordable life insurance plans is to be in the best shape as possible when you apply.

Texas Dept of Insurance: Life Insurance Basics

About the Author

Karen Lawson is a freelance writer who writes about topics in personal finance, healthcare, and gardening. She holds a master's degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.


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